Friday, April 30, 2010

The morning after surgery

NOTE: We cannot use our cell phones in the ICU. We can still connect to wireless, so we will be able to check voicemail and email if you need to get a hold of us.

The surgery went well. I should say, it went as expected. They were not able to remove all of the tumor because it wall of the cyst is involved with the optic nerve, carotid artery and pituitary gland. They always err on the side of caution around those areas, so they left quite a bit of the tumor tissue behind, rather than try to remove it and potentially cause more serious damage.

We really have to give a HUGE thank you to everyone for their support. We literally had a crowd of family here with us the entire time we were waiting, and it would have been so much harder for us to get through those 5 hours or so without everyone there. So THANK YOU. 

Jason and I really like her team of surgeons - Dr. Browd is the main one we've been talking to, but we've met and spoken with a few others several times. They are all extremely helpful and you can tell they genuinely care about helping Summer get better. The nurses have been fantastic too. We really couldn't be in better hands.

She finished up around 11:30 last night and woke up right away. She was sitting up right away and talking, asking for us as soon as they removed her breathing tube. The doctors and nurses were pretty surprised at how quickly she bounced back from the anesthesia. The nurse said that a doctor commented on it and she just shrugged and told him "this girl does what she wants!" Everyone who knows her will tell you that's true. :)

We were able to see and hold her shortly after she woke up, and could already tell she still has all of her spitfire personality intact. They told us what the incision would look like and reminded us that her head would be partly shaved, but it was a bit of a shock to see the side of her face so swollen from where they removed and replaced the bone. The swelling will probably get worse before it gets better, and she does look like there will be some bruising. Her right eye might even swell shut, but that's entirely normal.

She's still wrestling with the nurses every time they try to take her vitals or mess with her IV. She's been kept pretty comfortable on morphine all night, but wakes up here and there, asking to be held or for some juice. It's hard to tell in her groggy state, but it did seem like she was able to focus on me so there may have been an immediate improvement in her vision from the surgery. Might just be that I'm being (too) optimistic on that note, but we won't know for sure until she wakes up a bit more later today.

She is not happy about all the tubes and wires she's hooked up to, but some of them will start to come off today. She has a follow-up MRI coming up at 8:30, so unfortunately they won't let her eat again just yet. She still hasn't had any solid food since crackers for breakfast yesterday morning. Luckily she's too sleepy to be bothered too much by it. Around 5 this morning she was asking for crackers again (which were not yet allowed since she'd had a breathing tube), but fell back asleep before we could even get her some applesauce to eat.

In the ICU, only one parent is allowed to remain bedside all night, so Jason was put up in a sleeping room and got up there around one. Poor guy hadn't really slept much since Tuesday evening, so he was exhausted. I managed to grab about four hours of good sleep here and there last night, and was even able to stomach some crackers, so I am feeling much better today.

As far as next steps go, there's not a lot we know for sure. They are going to try to get her out of the ICU sometime today. We'll spend the next few days here, just recovering from the surgery. On Wednesday, the tumor board meets. They'll have all of the neurologists, oncologists and everyone relevant to cancer care in one room to look at all of her scans and the pathology results, and discuss the next steps. Dr. Browd said he wouldn't entirely rule out a second surgery, but he didn't think anyone would be lobbying for it. Most likely we will be looking at some form of radiation treatment as Step 2.


  1. Jessica thank you for continuing to update us on Summer's condition. I am and will always be thinking about you guys and sending prayers your way. Love, Kim

  2. Thinking of you this morning. I am glad to hear that Summer is out of surgery and bounced back well from the anesthesia. We love you guys!

  3. I am so happy that it is going well and she is still a spunky adorable normal little girl. It still brings tears to my eyes reading about it, but I will continue to pray and send your my love through the airways! I hope she truely is able to focus, and I am sure as a mother you have the right idea! Mothers always know best!

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  5. Thinking of you guys every moment and I am so glad Summer came out of surgery ok. Sending you lots of hugs and lots of love.
    I'll see you soon!

  6. hey jess, thanks for writing everything out. i just heard and had no idea what you guys were going through. i'm keep summer, jason and you in my thoughts and prayers. wishing you lots of love and a speedy recovery!

  7. Hi there,
    So I'm a total stranger to you, I did a Team in Training event with Maureen and got the link from her via Facebook. I just wanted you to know that I'm pulling for Summer and hoping for the best for all of you.